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Israel Claims Coordination with Egypt on Rafah and the Gaza Border

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, speaking on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference yesterday, assured the world that Israel would coordinate whatever it does in Rafah with Egypt. “Israel will have to deal with Rafah because we can’t just leave Hamas there,” he said, reported the Times of Israel|. When asked where refugees in Rafah would go, Katz suggested Khan Younis—where Israeli forces have been engaged in heavy fighting with Hamas for weeks—but said that Israel would work with Egypt to ensure Cairo’s interests were not harmed. “We will coordinate with Egypt,” he said.

Katz further claimed that Israel has “no intention to deport any Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip,” adding that Israel did not want to rule Gaza after it ends its war against Hamas, which has been governing the territory.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, speaking at roughly the same time in Israel, echoing Katz, also claimed that Israel will not be evacuating Palestinian civilians from Rafah to Egypt. “The State of Israel has no intention of evacuating Palestinian civilians to Egypt. We respect and value our peace agreement with Egypt, which is a cornerstone of stability in the region as well as an important partner,” Gallant said in a briefing with foreign press.

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